Source: (2007) Paper prepared for VIVA Asia Cutting Edge Conference in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 – 23 November 2007.

Within the Asian kaleidoscope, the trails leading youth to prison are varied. Out of dire circumstances to maintain basic needs or a debilitating addiction, youth may succumb to committing economic or “survival” crimes. Conversely, well-educated and more affluent youth, seeking stimulation and new highs, take on law breaking with the vigor and gusto of accepting more and more risk . And then some are born, raised, and in the case of North Korea, spend their entire childhood in prison knowing nothing of life “on the outside” as they mature towards adulthood. These are just some of the avenues, broad in some contexts, leading to time in various forms of forced seclusion. Though a nation’s justice framework is paved with good intentions, incarceration has severe and often unseen repercussions for the offender and family. Youth, doubly so, are subject to traumatisation and the loss of moral conscience by spending formative years in institutions that isolate them from meaningful contact with family and positive role models. Children, of imprisoned adult offenders, face the sudden aftermath of life without a parent and public scorn of now becoming a criminal’s child. (excerpt)


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